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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

A Call for Increased Whining

Author: Guest Writer/Wednesday, April 25, 2012/Categories: Uncategorized

My nominees for the "Humanity's All-Time Worst Inventions": 

1. The Timeshare. 

2. Peanut Butter and Jelly in a can. 

3. Jellies. 

4. The Facebook status update. 

The first three, at least, you can ignore. But the Facebook status update has become part of your life. If you want to have friends and not live under a bridge, you have endure reading your friends' typed-out thoughts which, I believe, they decided were too boring to say to their cats. 

I do not care that you are baking cupcakes. 

I do not care that you are working out. 

I do not care that you are struggling to make the transition from Mac's CMD-C to PC's CTRL-C. 

I do not care that it "sure is hot in Denver this week." 

Wait. Yes I do. 

I do care. 

It IS hot in Denver these days. 

It was hotter yesterday in Denver, where I live, than it has ever been on April 24. It was nearly 90 degrees in April, in Colorado. 

That just ain't normal. That ain't right. 

And even though I have a lot of Facebook "friends" who live in Denver, not one of them mentioned this fact. 

I didn't. I made a joke. 

I wish someone had mentioned it. I wish we all had mentioned it. 

Because, in the long run, it won't matter one zip if you "knitted a slanket for uncle Vern!" But it will matter that it's hot. It's going to matter an awful lot. 

Climate realists -- also known as "realists" -- are losing the argument about global warming for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that we suck at complaining. 

We know -- because we read -- that weather is different from climate. So we know it's true that just because it was hot one day, it might be cold the next. Climate is what you get when you add up millions of weather events. And so one weather event -- one hot day in Denver -- doesn't mean much in terms of the climate. So climate realists tend not to make a big deal about it. We're more likely to site the IPCC report or Balog's Extreme Ice Survey as evidence that warming is happening, not our own sweat-stained brow. We know that it's stupid to say, "It's hot today, therefore global warming is happening." 

But here's the thing: 

The climate deniers -- also known as "most people" -- are winning the argument. And one of the reasons they're winning the argument is because they don't have the same sort of scruples about "climate" vs. "weather." Every time a cold day rolls around, they make the same predictable joke: "I sure could use some global warming right now," or "too bad Al Gore talked me into giving away my coats." 

And this talk matters. People listen to people, not to the IPCC. They listen to their friends and neighbors. 

And so if you have an army of climate deniers pointing out when the world is cold and just a few dozen realists pointing out when the world is hot, the balance is off. And the arguments can go on forever, and it can seem like nothing is changing. 

It's like when I got to ask some questions of Karl Rove last week about global warming. He pointed out that it has been cold in Europe. And that seemed, to him, all the argument he needed to make. 

But humans have heat sensitive skin. We can feel when it's hot. And it's hot lately. Last decade was the hottest decade ever. 

Now, we just need to get better at broadcasting to each other the times when it's hot. Because we're reaching the point where nearly everyone in the developed world has access to Twitter and Facebook. And if we all point out when it's hot and when it's cold, just being honest, the aggregate of all those Tweets and status updates will show that humans are sensing that the world is getting warmer. 

We are thermometers. 

And we need to complain a little bit more. This is a call for increased whining. 

I'm not necessarily calling for more annoying status updates. We can make this funny. We can write: 

"Let's grab some buckets. The gold on the capital dome is melting off." 

"The marble statues in front of the art museum have pit stains." 

"I'm thinking of going on a crime spree -- the jails have air conditioning." 


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